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by PowerReviews
SonySonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens
 
4.9

(based on 153 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (135)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (17)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

99%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Nice bokeh (101)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (92)
  • Strong construction (87)
  • Consistent output (81)
  • Lightweight (78)

Cons

  • Heavy (5)
  • Pricey / poor value (5)

Best Uses

  • Low light (92)
  • Landscape/scenery (61)
  • Night photography (60)
  • Weddings (60)
  • Video (17)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (49), Semi-pro photographer (44), Pro photographer (27), Casual photographer (7)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (123)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Sharp, Fast and BIG and EXPENSIVE Lens

Of all the lenses I have looked at for my Sony A7 so far, the Sony 55mm and 35mm prime lenses have provided the sharpest images. Despite what you might read about the overall...Read complete review

Of all the lenses I have looked at for my Sony A7 so far, the Sony 55mm and 35mm prime lenses have provided the sharpest images. Despite what you might read about the overall quality of these lenses, make no doubt about it, coupled with the auto focus on the Sony A7 cameras, these lenses make extremely sharp images with nice contrast and acceptably attractive bokeh.When Sony introduced the A7 and A7r I knew I had to have one. But which one and, what lenses? With only three OEM lenses available at launch, my need for a longer lens led me into a search of all options. I've tested a lot of lenses.The first lens I bought for the camera was the Sony 35mm prime. I returned it and bought some Voigtlander M lenses and an M adapter, which I love on the Sony, but I couldn't help but notice that the detail in the images produced with the Sony 35mm lens were incredibly sharp. I had made a hand held shot of my dog and individual hairs were readily visible and sharp.I bought the Metabones adapter and tried my Canon lenses, but the focus was slow and the form vs. function factor on those HUGE lenses didn't work for me. The Canon lenses are BIG and the Sony A7 is small. I felt like I was lugging around an elephant in my Ferrari. So I returned the adapter, an easy process thanks to B&H return policy.Now I have my Voitlander lenses and manual focus. They produce very fine images, but I was missing the totally automatic side of this fine camera, so I bought the 55mm Sony lens and have found it to be very sharp and a joy to use when I want fully automated shooting.The Sony 55mm is very fast and SHARP with nice bokeh and I give it HIGH MARKS for that. When coupled with the high ISO capability of the A7 it does very well in available light situations even after the sun has gone down.Manual focus of the lens is very nice with the image magnification of the EVF. It is acceptably fast for the street and landscape work that I do.What I don't like about the lens is the lack of separate aperture control ring. It is a very sleek lens and makes use of control dials on the camera body to set aperture and shutter speed. It is a little different paradigm, not bad, but different than the Voitlander primes, which I love to use.This is a fairly large lens, especially compared to the 35mm prime that Sony offers. It doesn't overpower the camera in terms of form like my Canon lenses did, but compared to the diminutive 35mm and my Voitlander lenses, it is on the large side.One other nice thing about this lens is that coupled with the Sony A7, you have a setup that will stand up to the elements. I haven't poured water on mine yet to test, but I've seen it done on videos on YouTube. That's some nice comfort when you have to brave the elements to get the shot you want.The only down side is the cost of the lens. IT IS EXPENSIVE. Lets face it, for a standard focal length lens with not so much glass, $[$] is a lot to fork over. It makes me wonder if I will be willing to fork over what Sony might want for future lenses for this camera.Overall this is a very nice lens, but I can only give it 4 stars because it is BIG and EXPENSIVE.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Excellent optically, but mechanically flawed

I have been using this lens for over 2 years and it has been my favorite and best,'go to'mirrorless lens on FF (Sony A7R and A7R-II)and APS-C (A6000). With the...Read complete review

I have been using this lens for over 2 years and it has been my favorite and best,'go to'mirrorless lens on FF (Sony A7R and A7R-II)and APS-C (A6000). With the latter, it's a very good ~85mm equivalent tele. Very sharp at all apertures with just some vignetting wide-open.

So why only 2 stars and me about to sell it? While its optically excellent, it is mechanically flawed. A well-known photo equipment rental company has had to repair many of these lenses due to a STUPID engineering design. A crucial part of the focusing motor, used for both AF and manual focusing, is only secured by a glob of glue!! When this coil releases from the glue, the lens cannot focus. From online discussions, it seems that Sony out-sourced repair centers will deem this defect 'unrepairable' (the rental company disassembles their lenses and reapply another glob of glue). The result for the rest of us is a very expensive paperweight. I am selling mine before it breaks and buying the cheaper (1/4 X) Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 lens usng an older DC motor.

Reviewed by 153 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Love this Lens

By seakayaker

from South Windsor CT

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Nice Bokeh

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

      I wanted a lens to use on my A7 for photographing the arrival of our first grand child . I've never been happy with my people photos and avoided those opportunities constantly. I realized I wanted to confront my fears and start practicing portraits quick! Although this lens is not a typical portrait length I noticed a lot of the Sony Artisans do indeed use it for portraits . I am happy to say I was so pleased with my initial attempts at portraits while out practicing just a few times with this lens. I couldn't believe they were my pictures. This lens was purchased used from B&H , it was a 9+ , but looked as good as new . I love this company , the are always laid back calm and super helpful . I have since purchased the FE 16-35 F4 and am really please with the quality of this used lens as well . It is also giving me stunning results .. but that is a different review for later.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Very nice normal lens

      By The Wizard

      from Seattle

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Lightweight
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Indoors/Low Light
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Weddings/Events

        Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

        The 55mm f/1.8 makes a great combo with the A7r II, perfect walk around shooter, discreet, great in low light and tops in IQ.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Very Nice Lens!

        By Steve

        from Big Lake, MN

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Durable
        • Easily Interchangeable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

          Extremely Sharp, Well build and smooth focus. Glad I finally added it to my collection.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          (12 of 24 customers found this review helpful)

           
          2.0

          Excellent optically, but mechanically flawed

          By DrChu

          from San Francisco & Boston

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Excellent Optically
          • Nice Bokeh

          Cons

          • Prone To Af-motor Failure

          Best Uses

          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Landscape/Scenery

          Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

          I have been using this lens for over 2 years and it has been my favorite and best,'go to'mirrorless lens on FF (Sony A7R and A7R-II)and APS-C (A6000). With the latter, it's a very good ~85mm equivalent tele. Very sharp at all apertures with just some vignetting wide-open.

          So why only 2 stars and me about to sell it? While its optically excellent, it is mechanically flawed. A well-known photo equipment rental company has had to repair many of these lenses due to a STUPID engineering design. A crucial part of the focusing motor, used for both AF and manual focusing, is only secured by a glob of glue!! When this coil releases from the glue, the lens cannot focus. From online discussions, it seems that Sony out-sourced repair centers will deem this defect 'unrepairable' (the rental company disassembles their lenses and reapply another glob of glue). The result for the rest of us is a very expensive paperweight. I am selling mine before it breaks and buying the cheaper (1/4 X) Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 lens usng an older DC motor.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this reviewHelp Icon

           
          5.0

          A True Diamond

          By PerryLeros

          from Lakewood, OH

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Night Photography
            • Portraits
            • Weddings/Events

            Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

            Got it as a first lens with my a7RII. This lens is super sharp and can't really find any softness or CA even when pixel peeping the corners.
            I recently got the zeiss 35mm 2.8 and it seemed soft compared to this lens. I thought there was something wrong with the 35 but it's just that this 55 lens is razor sharp. Really satisfied. Focuses fast and accurately too.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            Worth Every Penny

            By FoxTop

            from Santa Rosa, Ca

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Lightweight
            • Nice Bokeh

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                I use this lens for just about anything and it always produces amazing photos.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                Sharp with lots of contrast!

                By Dpyancy

                from Pennsylvania, USA

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Night Photography
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                  I use this lens for a walk around lens for my A7II.
                  This is my first Zeiss lens and I love the micro contrast and bokeh!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  nice

                  By Richieboone

                  from Cranberry Pa

                  About Me Pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Rugged

                  Cons

                  • Big

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape/Scenery

                  Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                  Kind of big for Sony system like all of they're other lenses.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  5.0

                  Worth it!

                  By Perspectives

                  from Denver, CO

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Lightweight
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Size

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Night Photography
                  • Sports/Action
                  • Video
                  • Weddings/Events
                  • Wildlife Photos

                  Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                  Great lens! A perfect combo with an a7Rii. So dependable, with fast focus, great color and sharpness, and well-balanced on the camera. I don't think of what I have to overcome in order to get a great image with this lens so am able to just shoot and concentrate on the composition, lighting and timing instead. The limited distortion and vignetting are very well corrected with a lens profile in post. Chromatic aberration has only shown up in extreme situations and then it's still minor and correctable. It's not as small as some other lenses with a similar focal length, but I think it makes up for it in quality (admittedly, I only say this based on what I've read, not having tried these other options, yet). I love it!

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Nice Lens

                  By Altm

                  from West Virginia

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Easily Interchangeable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Lightweight
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Weddings/Events

                    Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                    Nice lens. The photos are clear and has nice bokeh. I rated it a 4 versus a 5 due to the focal length of 55mm versus a 50mm.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    5.0

                    Happy with this lens

                    By sue

                    from missouri

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easily Interchangeable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus

                    Cons

                    • A Little Heavy Not Bad

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                      I have only had for 3 weeks, but i am very happy so far. My first prime.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (3 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Awesome lens!

                      By Chaz

                      from Wallingford, Ct

                      Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                      This lens is a superb lens to walk about on my Sony A7. Sharp, sharp, sharp. The bokeh is delicious, creamy, buttery. It is light weight and compact. There are times I forgot there was a camera on my neck, and thought it was left behind.

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                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Simply the best!

                      By otho

                      from Poznan, Poland

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Easily Interchangeable
                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Lightweight
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Weddings/Events

                        Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                        My best native lens for A7R. Amazing sharpness from f/1.8. Nice bokeh.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

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                        5.0

                        Sharp pro lens

                        By RicardoZim

                        from San Diego, CA

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Consistent Output
                        • Durable
                        • Easily Interchangeable
                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Lightweight
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Indoors/Low Light
                          • Landscape/Scenery
                          • Macro Photography
                          • Night Photography
                          • Weddings/Events

                          Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                          Best lens I have used

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          5.0

                          Tack Sharp Lens with Carl Zeiss Perfection!

                          By Scott W

                          from Philadelphia, PA

                          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Consistent Output
                          • Durable
                          • Easily Interchangeable
                          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                          • Nice Bokeh
                          • Rugged
                          • Strong Construction

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Indoors/Low Light
                            • Night Photography
                            • Sports/Action
                            • Video
                            • Weddings/Events
                            • Wildlife Photos

                            Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                            Portraits, action, street photography. This lens does it all. And with finesse. This is probably the best lens I have ever purchased, as a hobbyist photographer. It has metal mounts and body, and is solid construction with quiet operation. I was wowed by its tack sharpness and fast auto focus. The bokeh is nice and creamy. Not much else to be said! Fantastic lens by storied Carl Zeiss optics. Buy it and see for yourself!

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            5.0

                            simply amazing

                            By kurt

                            from oak brook il

                            About Me Casual Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                            • Nice Bokeh

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Indoors/Low Light
                              • Landscape/Scenery
                              • Weddings/Events

                              Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                              best walk around lens

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

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                              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens by Sony

                              By Debra Kapustin Photography

                              from Tarpon Springs Florida

                              About Me Pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Consistent Output
                              • Durable
                              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                              • Lightweight
                              • Nice Bokeh
                              • Strong Construction

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Family
                                • Portraits
                                • Weddings/Events

                                Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                                Fantastic lens with amazing bokeh.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                5.0

                                sharp as a tack

                                By tutti

                                from charlottesville

                                About Me Pro Photographer

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                • Consistent Output
                                • Durable
                                • Easily Interchangeable
                                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                                • Lightweight
                                • Nice Bokeh
                                • Rugged
                                • Strong Construction

                                Cons

                                  Best Uses

                                  • Indoors/Low Light
                                  • Landscape/Scenery
                                  • Macro Photography
                                  • Night Photography
                                  • Sports/Action
                                  • Video
                                  • Weddings/Events
                                  • Wildlife Photos

                                  Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                                  Excellect, clear viewing and the images are super sharp

                                  • Was this a gift?:
                                  • No

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                                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  This is the sharpest lens with the most beautiful bokeh

                                  By Great life

                                  from California

                                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                                  Pros

                                  • Nice Bokeh

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                    • Indoors/Low Light

                                    Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                                    I don't need to repeat what the other reviewers are saying. Besides the sharpness, the bokeh, color and separation are outrageous. I compared 3 lenses, Sony 28-70mm, Canon 24-70mm with Metabone with photos taken at 55mm and the result was jaw dropping. I really did not truly believe the need for a prime before but after seeing the difference even without any magnification, it just blew me away. Now I look for the name Zeiss but I really don't know how much Sony can take credit for this. One of the best photo I took on my last year's Mexico cruise of our waiter was with this lens. The dinning room was quite dim and I had to use F1.8 but it turned out to be sharp with beautiful bokeh. I do own a ton of lenses but honestly nothing like this one.

                                    • Was this a gift?:
                                    • No

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                                    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                                     
                                    5.0

                                    Sharp, small, fast

                                    By Mtnr

                                    from Anchorage, AK

                                    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                    Verified Buyer

                                    Pros

                                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                                    • Lightweight
                                    • Nice Bokeh
                                    • Sharp
                                    • Strong Construction

                                    Cons

                                      Best Uses

                                      • Indoors/Low Light
                                      • Landscape/Scenery
                                      • Night Photography
                                      • Video
                                      • Weddings/Events

                                      Comments about Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens:

                                      Yeah, it's $1k.

                                      Yeah, it's "only" f/1.8.

                                      But guess what? This is the sharpest 50ish mm lens with autofocus: IN THE WORLD.

                                      Small price to pay, don't you think?

                                      I use it on an A7R II, and this lens combined with the f/1.8 aperture allow me take hand-held photos in extremely low light.

                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                      • No

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